The Google News Initiative launches to give online news a helping hand

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Google logo (Image credit: Android Central)

For the past couple years, there's been a heightened focus on the subject of fake news. Misleading stories continue to pop up online, it gets more difficult to tell legitimate sources from illegitimate ones, and the words of some politicians don't make this matter any easier to deal with. Thankfully, to help make sense of the world of online news, Google is launching the Google News Initiative.

Also referred to as the GNI, the Google News Initiative —

signifies a major milestone in Google's 15-year commitment to the news industry, and will bring together everything we do in collaboration with the industry—across products, partnerships, and programs—to help build a stronger future for news.

Google has three primary objectives it hopes to accomplish with GNI, with one of the most prominent having to do with giving journalists the tools they need to elevate and strengthen the quality of their content. To achieve this, Google's trained its machine learning systems to identify misleading stories during breaking news situations and redirect people to accurate ones.

Additionally, Google's working with Poynter Institute, Stanford University, and the Local Media Association to launch a program called MediaWise that'll help "improve digital information literacy for young consumers."

GNI's second goal is to "evolve business models to drive sustainable growth." Along with giving publishers tools to better understand their audience and know when to present them with subscription offers, Google's launching a new consumer-focused feature called "Subscribe with Google." With this, people will be able to easily subscribe to paid news outlets using their Google account. The New York Times, Financial Times, and The Washington Post are among the first publishers pioneering Subscribe with Google, and more will be coming soon.

Also helping to achieve this goal is a new open-source tool called "The Outline" that'll allow news organizations to easily create their own VPN for securely sharing sensitive data across the internet.

Last but not least, GNI aims to "empower news organizations through technological innovation." Google says it'll be dedicating $300 million to help accomplish all of this, and it notes —

The commitments we're making through the Google News Initiative demonstrate that news and quality journalism is a top priority for Google. We know that success can only be achieved by working together, and we look forward to collaborating with the news industry to build a stronger future for journalism.

What's your takeaway from all of this?

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Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • EG: push a certain narrative/propaganda more effectively.
  • Orwellian thought police.
  • Yeah... Keep deflecting from the actual problem.
  • While I like the enhancements to make subscriptions easier (and think more than ever that we need good journalism instead of any bot with a Twitter or Facebook account), the part about training its AI to decide what is reliable versus other has me kind of concerned. Seems like we've been down this road before.
  • If it's the same AI used for YouTube demonetization then you can kiss goodbye any hope of objectivity.
  • Why can't we get an unbiased news source that puts the facts out and let's each of us decide how to interpret it?
    So tired of every news source being 1 sided and telling a narrative.
    I appreciate what Google does but what I have read of their news it's not news but opinion.
  • I don't mind getting news from biased sources, as long as they are upfront about it.
    Let me choose what, where and when to consume. Stop treating us like idiots in need of guidance.
  • It's not really about biased news... At least bias news contains facts. They are just spun a certain way. Sometimes they omit relevant facts to make the spin work. Fox News and MSNBC are prime examples of this. But it isn't fake news. Fake news contains wholly inaccurate, false, and misleading information. And that's the problem we have to combat.
  • Fox News and MSNBC have had to retract stories based on inaccuracies. Fox News being the worst offender, the Seth Rich case as an example.
  • Fox just wussed out to pressure. Are you aware that last week a lawyer looking into his murder was shot twice in the back and run down by a vehicle driven by a marine now working for the Dept. of Energy? Neither does most everyone else. Amazingly, he has survived; but, this highlights those who get to decide what "real" news we're allowed to see as nothing more than the propaganda paparazzi.
  • True... But there is a difference between reporting falsehoods by accident (which happens to the best of media outlets) and knowingly spewing lies. I'll admit that Fox News, moreso than MSNBC has between straddling the line a lot more frequently lately. But I have noticed that MSNBC omits certain facts to make their narrative fit. Though they do it a lot less than Fox News.
  • exactly people are more mad that its bias because their source of news dont make the cut but not upset their source of news is spewing fake news. For example if your source of news says obama is a kenyan immigrant then they are spewing fake news, if your news source says they dont agree with agree with obamas health care initiative thats opinion but not fake, if your news source says obama is was president for 8 years thats facts, you can bias but still tell tell the truth , being bias doesnt mean fake news. the reason most of these bias new sources are getting canned isnt because they are bias its because they are willfully spewing fake news, but people are more mad they are being canned rather than the reason they are being canned, they rather say its pushing a narrative rather than accept their source of news is lying to them
  • Obama is a Kenyan Immigrant though
  • There's always one. Smh. I think it's something they're putting in the milk.
  • It used to be that way many years ago.
  • Yeah I don't know if the idea of the largest data mine in the world magically deciding what is real and what isn't is necessarily a good one.
  • Exactly - The type of journalism and reporting we all say we want doesn't sell ads or clicks or traffic, yet we want an ad and traffic analytic org to choose the news. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • This is more troubling than helpful. Millennials tend to get their news heavily curated already. This will further narrow what they're reading.
  • This is all good stuff! Keep it up Google!
  • Yeah - I think taking "news" at face value from Google is like listening to Apple try and tell you about Android. It's going to be completely devoid of competitive arguments, discussion, reason or's going to smell like artesinal coffee thimbles and craft beer...and it'll likely be handled by someone who couldn't pass a community college journalism class...
  • So basically, redirecting everyone away from